Meet The MBA Class Of 2023: William Cao, University Of Minnesota (Carlson)

William Cao

University of Minnesota, Carlson School of Management

“A simple man who absolutely loves with all his heart to spend money on clothes.”

Hometown: Rochester, Minnesota

Fun Fact About Yourself: I can make balloon animals! In college, I taught a weekly balloon animal-making class at the after-school youth center I volunteered at. The kids were generally very bad at this activity and instead directed all their efforts to crafting balloon swords with which to menace the other children and staff. After several months of their reign of terror, I was promptly removed from this tenure-track post.

Undergraduate School and Major: Williams College, Chemistry & Economics

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Mayo Clinic, Research Technologist

What has been your favorite part of the Twin Cities so far? What has made it such a great place to earn an MBA? To me, the Twin Cities has much of the activities, entertainment, food, and types of people you’d find in a big city but still feels like a small town. The balance I think is perfect! And Minneapolis in the summer and fall is positively idyllic. Nothing but excellent weather, blue skies, beautiful foliage, happy families out and about, and not a single thought given to the inevitable and inescapable frozen tundra that will soon consume all these things.

I genuinely think Minnesotans are kind and lovely people! And it’s been superb meeting many of them through this program and in my daily life. I’ve loved living here and the people especially have added immensely to my MBA experience.

Carlson MBA spend a year in hands-on Enterprise programs for Consulting, Branding, Ventures, and Funds. Which program do you intend to enroll in? What excites most about your Enterprise program? I’m enrolling in the Brands Enterprise. I’m really looking forward to working with classmates from all kinds of backgrounds to tackle unique and meaningful problems. The emphasis on team activities at the Carlson School has been incredibly useful and I’m excited to continue that experience in a real-world business context.

Aside from your classmates, experiential learning, and location, what was the key part of the Carlson MBA programming that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? The Carlson School’s close relationship to the healthcare industry in the Twin Cities was definitely a big draw for me! As someone who was looking to transition from the research side of healthcare AND biotechnology to the business side, it was important for me to go somewhere with a robust track record of helping students secure terrific positions at the many outstanding healthcare and medical device companies located in Minneapolis.

What course, club or activity have you enjoyed the most so far at Carlson? TAPS, or Thursday after Professional Stuff, is usually the best part of my week! At the end of every school week, Carlson students go to a brewery to hang out and relax. To a one, my classmates are interesting, outgoing, intelligent, and creative people and it’s been great to get to know them more informally!

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: I’m proud of the role I had in helping generate and maintain the first “FRG” pig model for the disease research I did at the Mayo Clinic. The pig’s name was Orville and he was a surly and intractable fellow who, nevertheless, represented a huge step forward for our laboratory’s mission of advancing therapies for inherited liver metabolism disorders in patients.

Describe your biggest accomplishment as an MBA student so far: We’re not at the event yet, but I’m excited for the silent auction fundraiser the Carlson 4 Community organization will be throwing for InnerCity Tennis in February! I’m on the Donations team with several wonderful classmates who are all working hard to help make the event a success.

What advice would you give to help potential applicants gain admission into the Carlson MBA program? Reach out to someone from the program before you apply! Everyone here has been in your position before and is more than happy to give you guidance on the process. There’s definitely no need to feel anxious or embarrassed about asking us to spare some time to share our experiences.

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